Rafael Nadal continued to build momentum at the French Open as he moved into the fourth round by relieving past Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. In the process, Nadal set up a remarkable encounter against Félix Auger-Aliassime, the ninth seed, who coldly sailed three tight sets to defeat Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2), 7-5.
Since last April, as he has risen in the rankings to become a top 10 player, Auger-Aliassime has been working closely with Nadal’s uncle, Toni, who was the head coach of the Spanish man from his childhood until 2017, and has played a defining role. in so. much of his success. Toni Nadal remains the director of the Rafa Nadal Academy, which means he is basically employed by both players.
Asked in his post-match press conference whether or not he would talk to his uncle in the run-up to his match with Auger-Aliassime, Nadal responded, to extensive amusement, by noting that they had already spoken in the short window after his. match.
“He’s my uncle,” Nadal said, shrugging. “I don’t think he can want me to lose, no doubt, but he’s a professional and he’s with another player. I don’t know what will happen if he stays in the box or not, but I don’t care. I have no problem with that. So it’s not a story at all for me. I know how we feel about each other. “
Toni, for his part, said he would end the match rather than give Auger-Aliassime advice to defeat his nephew: “If we have to play with Rafa, I will not be on either bench out of respect. For both players and because I is still the director of the [Rafa Nadal] Academy, I still work for him and I’m Rafael’s uncle, ”he said, according to Marca.
The Auger-Aliassime press conference was naturally overwhelmed by questions about Toni Nadal’s decision to recuse himself from the match, which the Canadian rejected, stressing that Nadal’s career is bigger than this encounter.
“I don’t know how Toni feels,” he said. “Maybe we should ask him, but he didn’t talk to me about it. But I think you have to remember, too, because I know this question will come up quite a bit, I just want to say that, you know, for me, like, Rafa’s career and what he did with Toni, is much bigger than tomorrow’s match. ”
Nadal and Novak Djokovic it is now one win each away from facing each other in the French Open quarterfinals as Djokovic also advanced to the fourth round with an unbeaten straight-series win on Friday.
On Court Philippe Chatrier, just before Nadal finished his match on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Djokovic quietly outscored Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the fourth round. Both Djokovic and Nadal have yet to drop a set in Paris, but they will both face tougher opposition in the fourth round in the form of top 15 seeds. Djokovic will face 15th seed Diego Schwartzman, the 2020 semifinalist who dismantled Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.
In his press conference, Djokovic was asked if the new Australian government could have a positive impact on his prospects of playing in Australia again. “I don’t know if my visa will be reinstated or if I will be allowed to return to Australia,” Djokovic said. “I’d like to. I’d like to go there and play Australian Open. I don’t have a grudge. Look, it was what it was.”
Late Friday night, British number one Cameron Norrie, the 10th seed, was unable to advance to his first career grand slam fourth round as he lost 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to 21st seed Karen. Khanov. Norrie followed with a break in the third set before forcing a fourth set, but he was ultimately undone by his 59 unintentional errors and 1/10 break points scored in the first two sets. Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz continued his march through the draw as he reached the fourth round of the French Open with a routine 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Sebastian Korda.